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CDC & HHS Request for Comment Management of Acute and Chronic Pain

CDC & HHS Request for Comment Management of Acute and Chronic Pain

It is vitally important for the members of the Texas Pain Society to submit comments to CDC & HHS by June 16, 2020.

You can use the TPS template letter here

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the opening of a docket to obtain comment concerning perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management, including but not limited to the benefits and harms of opioid use, from patients with acute or chronic pain, patients' family members and/or caregivers, and health care providers who care for patients with pain or conditions that can complicate pain management (e.g., opioid use disorder or overdose)—hereafter called “stakeholders.” CDC will use these comments to inform its understanding of stakeholders' values and preferences related to pain and pain management options.

DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

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DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

Commissioner Brown sends an update to system participants about changes in DWC’s operations in response to COVID-19. Read more at

DEA Okays Telehealth to Prescribe Opioids Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The move to telehealth will make it easier for providers to prescribe an opioid or other controlled substance during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

telehealth prescribing of controlled substances

March 18, 2020 - Telemedicine has found yet another key purpose during the coronavirus public health emergency: the prescribing of controlled substances, such as opioids.

Per new clarification from the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), healthcare professionals can now prescribe a controlled substance to a patient using telehealth technology.

This announcement comes in the wake of the public health emergency declared by HHS Secretary Alex Azar on January 31, 2020.

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TMB Waiver for Chronic Pain Patients Granted by Governor Abbott

Texas Medical Board Press Release


March 19, 2020

Media contact: Jarrett Schneider, 512-305-7018

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DSHS Public Health Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use in Texas, 2020-2022

Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use

Men and women suffering with pain trapped inside pill capsules.

Substance use is a complex problem with devastating and lasting effects across the lifespan. It strains our families, it ravages our communities, and threatens the well-being of our entire state. While opioids are still cause for concern, recent trends on the use of methamphetamines, marijuana, other illicit drugs, and alcohol cannot be ignored.

As the state agency entrusted with improving the health, safety, and well-being of Texas, DSHS is committed to addressing substance use.


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Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program

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Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program

Fiscal Year 2020 Application Due Date: February 25, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the fiscal year 2020 Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program. The application cycle closes on February 25, 2020.

Please note that modifications have been made to the original Notice of Funding Opportunity. Download the latest version before applying.

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Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE 

Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

January 15, 2020

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DWC Finalizes the Medical Quality Review CY 2020 Annual Audit Plan

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DWC Finalizes the Medical Quality Review CY 2020 Annual Audit Plan

On November 4, 2019, the Division of Workers’ Compensation solicited input for the 2020 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan (Annual Plan); specifically, input regarding the proposal for categories within the Annual Plan.

The Annual Plan sets the priorities for the medical quality review audits during the upcoming year. This includes the scope, methodology, selection criteria, and program area responsibilities described in the Medical Quality Review Process .

More information about the Annual Plan is on the TDI website. is a pragmatic step in fight against opioids

The Trump administration has launched a smart new salvo in the public health offensive against the opioid epidemic.

Addiction to these prescription painkillers and related street drugs continues to wreak havoc in communities across the nation. Last week, the White House announced the launch of a new website that will make it easier to find specialized medical care close to home.

This confidential, easy-to-use resource has a name succinctly summing up its mission — It also allows individuals to customize their search results beyond location, a feature that existing “find a substance abuse provider” websites often don’t offer.


Research Group Releases Pharmacy Formulary Report

analysis of injured employee outcomes after the texas pharmacy closed formulary

Research Group Releases Pharmacy Formulary Report

The Research and Evaluation Group has released a report on Texas pharmacy closed formulary outcomes. This study looks at injured employee outcomes such as return-to-work rates and health outcomes since the formulary was implemented.

Need just the key findings? Check the TDI website for our new snapshot tool on the pharmacy formulary report.

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HHS Announces Guide for Appropriate Tapering or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Use

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Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a new Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics - PDF. Individual patients, as well as the health of the public, benefit when opioids are prescribed only when the benefit of using opioids outweighs the risks.  But once a patient is on opioids for a prolonged duration, any abrupt change in the patient’s regimen may put the patient at risk of harm and should include a thorough, deliberative case review and discussion with the patient. The HHS Guide provides advice to clinicians who are contemplating or initiating a change in opioid dosage.

“Care must be a patient-centered experience. We need to treat people with compassion, and emphasize personalized care tailored to the specific circumstances and unique needs of each patient,” said Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health. “This Guide provides more resources for clinicians to best help patients achieve the dual goals of effective pain management and reduction in the risk for addiction.”


TPS & TSA Pain Education Partnership Success

September 6, 2019 marked another successful year of partnership between Texas Pain Society & Texas Society of Anesthesiologist!

Each year TPS presents a 3 hour parallel session regarding pain medicine during the TSA Annual Conference.

This year we had Drs. Max Eckmann, C.M. Schade and Dhanalakshmi Koyyalagunta, MD representing TPS and an interactive crowd that was very engaged in the current standards and best practices for treating chronic pain patients. 

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Attorney General Ken Paxton Issues Statement on Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing of Purdue Pharma


Attorney General Ken Paxton Issues Statement on Chapter 11

Bankruptcy Filing of Purdue Pharma


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Prescription Drug Use Among Adults Aged 40–79 in the United States and Canada

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Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Canadian Health Measures Survey

  • Nearly 7 in 10 adults aged 40–79 used at least 1 prescription drug in the past 30 days in the United States (69.0%) and Canada (65.5%), and around 1 in 5 used at least 5 prescription drugs (22.4% in the United States and 18.8% in Canada).
  • Among adults aged 40–59, the most commonly used drug types in the United States were antidepressants, lipid-lowering drugs, and ACE inhibitors; in Canada, they were analgesics, antidepressants, and lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Among adults aged 60–79, the most commonly used drug types in the United States were lipid-lowering drugs, antidiabetic agents, and beta blockers; in Canada, they were lipid-lowering drugs, analgesics, and proton pump inhibitors.

Patterns of prescription drug use may reflect underlying patterns of health conditions and health care access in the population. Polypharmacy, often defined as the simultaneous use of five or more prescription drugs, is more common in an aging population where multiple coexisting chronic conditions often occur; however, safety concerns may arise (1). The United States and Canada share many cultural and historical ties, but with different models for health care delivery (2). This report describes the use of one or more and five or more prescription drugs among adults aged 40–79 in the United States and Canada.

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New Form for Reporting Drug Overdoses

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has created an online form for physicians and other health care professionals to report overdoses from controlled substances such as opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines.

Previously, physicians reported overdoses from these “Penalty Group 1” drugs only via phone call or by faxing a paper form to the Texas Poison Center Network.

The new electronic form replaces phone and fax reporting. It is expected to make reporting and collecting overdose data more efficient, DSHS officials said.

State law requires physicians or the person in charge of a facility in which an overdose occurs or is treated to report the overdose to the DSHS.

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FDA to Speed Review of Generic Versions of Opioid Overdose Antidote

FDA to Speed Review of Generic Versions of Opioid Overdose Antidote

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday said it would prioritize and expedite the review of generic versions of drugs indicated for the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses.

The decision follows FDA’s approval in April of the first generic of the life-saving naloxone nasal spray, commonly known as Narcan.

Under the “Public Health Emergency” prioritization factor in MAPP 5240.3, FDA says it will expedite the review of all abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) that reference new drug applications (NDAs) for drugs indicated for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. The NDAs include the Narcan injection and nasal spray, Evzio auto-injector and Revex injection.



Texas Board of Pharmacy Partners with Appriss Health to Provide Access to NarxCare Platform and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Directly within Electronic Health Records and Pharmacy Management Systems

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LOUISVILLE, KY – July 23, 2019 – Appriss Health, provider of the most comprehensive platform for opioid stewardship and substance use disorder (SUD) in the U.S., today announced that it has partnered with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) to integrate prescription monitoring program (PMP) information into the electronic health record (EHR) systems of all prescribers and pharmacy management systems for all pharmacies in Texas with Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway solution. Additionally, the TSBP will make available the Appriss Health NarxCare susbstance use disorder platform designed to deliver additional clinical content to help identify patients at risk of an opioid overdose.


The Opioid-Related Emergency Department Visits dashboard was recently updated.

Texas Department of State Health Services

The Opioid-Related Emergency Department Visits dashboard was recently updated.

There are 5 tabs:

1. An Overview page that provides a general overview of data by opioid type for 2017 
2. A Data Table Builder page that lets you choose parameters to generate a data table
3. A Maps page with opioid-related emergency department visits and rates by county
4. A Data Source & Other Resources page that contains methodology behind analyzing the data
5. An Archive page that has the previous dashboard for inpatient-emergency department visits

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Court Ruling Offers Hope on Pain Clinic Registrations


Physicians can encounter a web of confusion and unfairness when it comes to navigating the Texas Medical Board. The Travis County district court has given Texas physicians clarity and hope when it comes to certain medical board investigations.


UN health agency to remove controversial opiod guidelines

The World Health Organization notified U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that it will discontinue two publications on prescribing opioid painkillers in response to allegations that the pharmaceutical industry influenced the reports.

The pledge to remove the guidelines comes a month after U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Hal Rogers accused the WHO of being influenced by Purdue Pharma, the American manufacturer of the potent painkiller OxyContin. The lawmakers’ report claimed the guidelines, crafted in part by organizations with financial ties to the company, downplay the risk of opioids despite the American epidemic that has killed more than 390,000 since 1999.